Speech

UN Climate Summit in New York 24 September 2007. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s statement at the Roundtable session on mitigation

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Thank you Mr. Chairman, dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to our discussion today on the important questions regarding mitigation.

In combating climate change one of the most important challenges is: How can we reduce our green house gas emissions and at the same time ensure economic growth?

Some will argue that this is not possible. I will say: on the contrary.

It is indeed possible to pursue economic growth – while at the same time stabilizing consumption of energy and safeguarding the environment. The key tools are energy efficiency; and the use of renewable energy resources. Let me give you a concrete example: That of my own country, Denmark.

Our experience in Denmark shows that we can maintain economic growth and reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. Since 1980 Denmark’s economy has grown by approximately 70% - with a nearly unchanged consumption of energy.

From 1990 to 2005 our economy grew by more than 40 % while our total greenhouse gas emissions were reduced. This has been achieved while maintaining Denmark’s position as one of the most competitive economies.

Two elements have been important in this effort:

Firstly, our experience shows that energy efficiency must be optimised on all levels – from production and distribution to consumption at the end user.

In Denmark we use a mix of policies and measures: - new energy saving technologies and constant focus on innovation - high energy standards for buildings, regulated by the government - and economic incentives – in particular energy taxation.

This mixed approach has been fruitful in Denmark. The energy needed to produce one unit of GDP in Denmark is 40% lower than the average of other industrialised countries.

Secondly, there has been a devoted effort in Denmark to develop alternative sources of energy and especially cleaner sources of energy.

In Denmark, more than 25 % - one fourth of our electricity production stems from renewable sources - in particular from wind and biomass. Of our total energy consumption 15 % stems from renewable sources and by 2025 the goal is to double the share to at least 30 %.

And the technology is becoming increasingly more efficient and competitive. Today, wind energy has become a commercial success.

The Danish example is not unique. Each country must pursue the common objective with different means, including different technologies, relevant for their specific national circumstances. I fully recognise that combating poverty and seeking economic development is the overall priority in many countries. This is the way is should be. Our common challenge is therefore to find ways to delink economic growth from the emission of green house gasses. And we need to find ways to cooperate in pursuing this objective.

I hope that our experiences in Denmark can serve as an example for inspiration.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.